Phoenix Zoo

Merit Award

Phoenix Zoo - Desert Lives Trail

One of the most scenic paths in the Phoenix Zoo leads to a desert exhibit, home to the Arabian Oryx and Desert Bighorn Sheep. To draw visitors to the experience and constant surprise of desert living, the "Desert Lives" trail was created. This path contrasts and compares the stories of the natural habitats of these two desert species through the use of interpretive stations incorporated into natural earthen walls. The interpretive signage program provides punctuation to the exhibit while complementing the natural feel of this scenic trail.

Jury Comments: 

"The organic way in which this project was implemented is very appealing. Flowing stone walls and a color scheme in agreement with the trail's natural surroundings solve the need for exhibiting the living environment of the desert animal. The interactive explanatory graphics embedded into the stone forms seem to arouse curiosity and encourage learning by visitors to this trail." "The animal descriptive panels were beautifully crafted. The use of typography and color was most appropriate."

Design Firm: 

Thinking Caps


Phoenix Zoo

Location City: 

Phoenix, Arizona

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Rick Raymond

Design Team: 

Ann Morton (Principal in Charge), Jess Von Glück, Philip Weddle, Chris Brown





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